Does power help or hurt? The moderating role of self-other focus on power and perspective-taking in romantic relationships.

Abstract

Reconciling competing viewpoints suggesting that power helps and hurts perspective-taking in close relationships, in two experiments and two daily experience studies we tested the hypothesis that power's effect on perspective-taking depends on the extent to which people are relatively self-versus other-focused. In Study 1, recalling a time of high (vs. low) power over a romantic partner reduced inclinations to take the partner's perspective for relatively self-focused but not other-focused individuals. Studies 2 and 3 replicated Study 1 using daily variations in power and perspective-taking. In Study 4, being the "in-charge" partner during a conflict conversation reduced empathic accuracy for more self-focused individuals. Self-other focus was assessed with measures of gratitude, relational self-construal, and social value orientation. The current findings provide evidence that, particularly for the more self-focused, relationship power influences people's inclinations to take their romantic partner's perspective in daily life as well as their empathic accuracy during conflict.

DOI: 10.1177/0146167213490031

Cite this paper

@article{Gordon2013DoesPH, title={Does power help or hurt? The moderating role of self-other focus on power and perspective-taking in romantic relationships.}, author={Amie M . Gordon and Serena Chen}, journal={Personality & social psychology bulletin}, year={2013}, volume={39 8}, pages={1097-110} }